Halloween is just around the corner! Check out these simple safety tricks to ensure your family’s holiday is a real treat…
Adults should plan out a route in advance and check it during the daylight for obstacles like broken or absent sidewalks, construction timber or other obstructions that could trip up trick-or-treaters. Always trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods or areas.
Stick to your P-L-A-N-
P: Ensure your child asks Permission before leaving for trick-or-treating or a Halloween party.
L: Write down the location of their trick-or-treating route or other festivity.
A: Ask your child what specific activities they’ll be doing — Will they be going door to door asking for tricks and treats? Will they be at a Haunted Hayride? Will they be at a Halloween party with friends? Ensure you, and your child, have an understanding of exactly how they’ll be spending their time. When and how will your child return home, and with whom?
N: Get names and numbers of the people he or she will be with — friends, or grown up buddies, depending on the age of your child.
Only trick-or-treat in well-lit areas. Teach your children to stay in well-lit areas, never to take shortcuts and never go into isolated areas. If a house is unlit, do not approach it.
Children of any age should be accompanied by a parent, if possible. Tweens or young teens who still trick-or-treat may resist this notion; if they trick-or-treat without an adult, set firm rules, know who your child will be with, the route they will travel and require a child to carry a cell phone that can be used in the event of an emergency. Older kids should know where they can go, what etiquette and safety rules they must follow, they should always carry a flashlight and have an absolute deadline for returning home.
Teach your children to never approach a vehicle, even if it appears no one is inside the vehicle or if the driver or passengers call to them. This message is especially important for tweens and teens traveling in groups without an adult on Halloween.
Stay alert and report any suspicious events to law enforcement.
Familiarize yourself with addresses of local sex offenders: Use the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Neighborhood Search feature here. For a National search, use Family Watchdog’s search, here.
Teach kids to attract attention to themselves if anyone tries to grab or touch them. Dressing up in costume for Halloween can be fun, but it can also be confusing and potentially dangerous. Even if you are trick-or-treating with your child, make sure they know to draw attention to themselves and yell “This person is trying to take me!” or “This person is NOT my mom/dad!” and resist if a stranger grabs or touches them.
Consider organizing an at-home or school-based Halloween party as an alternative to trick-or-treating through the streets. This gives you an opportunity to have more control over your child’s Halloween experience, while still allowing them to have fun and enjoy the holiday.
Suggestions based on information provided by the Lauren’s Kids child safety experts and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.